Chong urges OFS to improve adjudication process for victims of online fund transfer scams

Chong attending to Chew at his office.

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KUCHING, Aug 10: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen has again called for the Ombudsman for Financial Services (OFS) to improve, simplify and expedite its adjudication process and provide a cheaper and faster avenue for unauthorised transaction victims to recover their losses.

In a statement today, Chong said he spent over three hours yesterday helping a victim of a bank scam to fill in questionnaires prepared by OFS which was not an easy task, as most laymen would find it too difficult to answer the questions properly.

According to Chong, the victim, known only as Mr Chew, only found out on April 28, 2022 that three unauthorised transfers had occurred in his CIMB account amounting to RM6,769, while his Maybank credit card which was issued on the same day was also hacked and charged with five transactions of payment all to ShopeePay top-up, totalling RM10,297.

“All three transfers were effected without Mr Chew receiving any OTP or SMS messages from the CIMB.

“Upon his complaint to CIMB, subsequently RM1,819 was refunded to him but the Bank refused to refund him the two unauthorised transfers of the total sum of RM4,950 to U Mobile Services Sdn Bhd.

“I have helped him fill in the claims with OFS against both banks and forwarded all necessary documents to the OFS. Yet, the OFS was slow in the process. Meanwhile, Maybank continues to charge interest of more than RM100 per month,” he said.

Last month, Chong, who is also Stampin MP, said he also received a reply from the Finance Minister on the performance of OFS and the statistics of successful claims filed by banks’ customers against banks.

The statistics, he continued, was most disappointing and it seemed that the OFS was protecting the interest of the banks more than the interest of the banks’ customers.

“That is definitely not the purpose of an ombudsman.

“The reply from the Finance Minister shows that out of a total 157 claims filed with and adjudicated by the OFS, 140 of the claims were decided in favour of the banks while the balance 17 cases either favours the bank’s customers or each reached amicable settlement. In other words, the banks enjoyed an almost 90 per cent winning rate in the OFS,” he exclaimed.

The Padungan assemblyman reminded that the ombudsman’s role is supposed to protect the underdogs, not those in the superior position.

“As between the two innocent parties, the banks and the bank’s customers, surely the banks are in the superior position. Yet, the statistics show that the ombudsman took the side of the banks at the expense of the customers.

“For an average person, losing RM15,000 of his savings in his bank accounts could mean losing several months of salary.  To most banks, the same RM15,000 is only 0.000001 per cent of its annual revenue,” he raised.

Disclosing that CIMB’s revenue in 2021 was RM19.51 billion while Maybank’s revenue for 2021 was RM45.96 billion, Chong pointed that it is thus obvious, as between the two innocent parties – banks and their customers – who was in a better position to absorb the loss.

“Therefore, it is for the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara to issue a directive order on this matter rather than leaving it to the whims and fancy of the OFS to act to the disadvantage of banks’ customers,” he added. — DayakDaily